Courthouse

Due to the steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the county, the Huntingdon County Commissioners announced Friday that residents who wish to conduct county business can only do so by appointment beginning Monday, Nov. 23.

Going back to restrictions that were first put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, the Huntingdon County Commissioners, along with the Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), announced Friday morning that all county offices will be open by employment only starting Monday, Nov. 23.

This is in response to the overall rise in cases in the state as well as the county.

To look at the numbers from the state Department of Health (DOH), as of Friday, there were a total of 1,488 cases of COVID-19 in Huntingdon. The recovered rate is currently at 65%, so this means out of those total cases since March, 967.2 of those are recovered cases and a total of 520.8 active cases are in the county.

There have been a total of 45 deaths attributed to the pandemic since March; however, 38 of those deaths have occurred since Oct. 1.

The DOH Early Warning Dashboard indicates the PCR positivity rate for COVID-19 is at around 12%.

Antigen tests are considered probable cases, as many of those are followed up with PCR tests.

According to a press release from the Huntingdon County Commissioners office, they meet with the EMA office to determine the best way to allow the public to access records while keeping the community and courthouse staff safe.

“The Huntingdon County Commissioners and the Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency have conducted numerous meetings to address the impact of access to public records and the need to provide safety and security for Huntingdon County employees and members of the general public in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

“To set up an appointment, please call the department you would like to see directly. Phone numbers are available on the county website, or you may call the commissioner’s office at (814) 643-3091 to be directed to the appropriate office. Office numbers will also be posted on the doors of county buildings,” stated the release.

This comes on the heels of an announcement from Huntingdon County President Judge George Zanic that all jury trials are canceled until January.

Zanic told The Daily News last week that “we’ve been fielding so many calls,” explaining that as the county continues to remain in a substantial level of transmission, potential jurors reached out and expressed their concerns with serving as a juror.

In addition, the judge said personnel have been impacted by the virus, explaining some individuals in the court system tested positive over the past several weeks.

The commissioners said in their release the courthouse is “subject to the same restrictions as all county buildings, but the court will remain open to handle “emergency situations.”

The Huntingdon County Sheriff’s Office will also remain open.

For those who wish to enter any county building, they are asked to wash their hands thoroughly before conducting any business, and employees are asked to keep a safe social distance from members while answering questions or providing requested information.

Masks are also required in all county buildings.

The commissioners and the EMA office staff will also have a series of questions to ask concerning the health of a resident who wishes to enter the building.

“The commissioners and EMA have developed a questionnaire to be presented to all individuals seeking to enter any offices in county buildings The questionnaire will require individuals to disclose any recent travels and whether individuals themselves have symptoms or have had unprotected contact with individuals with symptoms of COVID-19,” reads the press release.

If anyone answers yes to any of these types of questions, it will be considered grounds to be denied access to county buildings.

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.

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